The Importance of Methane Leak Detection

The Importance of Methane Leak Detection

On March 28, 2014 the Obama Administration released a key element called for in the President’s Climate Action Plan: a Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions. The strategy commits to new steps to cut emissions of methane gas, and outlines efforts to improve the measurement of these emissions. The plan establishes steps to further cut methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector.

Methane emissions were previously listed as one of many on the schedule of volatile organic compounds (VOC). This started to change with California making methane reduction a separate strategy item on its landmark global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. The focus on methane detection and reduction has now increased significantly with the passage of new fracking methane controls by the Colorado legislature in February 2014. Colorado’s rules require oil and gas companies to regularly monitor and repair unintentional, or “fugitive” leaks of gases that are classified as having “adverse climate effects”, like methane. Colorado companies will have to inspect their largest emitting facilities monthly and their smallest ones once a year using advanced detection technology. Colorado gives operators five working days to fix methane leaks unless they can prove more time is needed. These laws are the first of their kind with strict limits on reducing methane leaks and stringent penalties imposed for noncompliance.

What’s Next for Methane Regulation?

This new level of emphasis on controlling methane emissions has escalated further with the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) currently assessing significant sources of methane and other fugitive emissions from the oil and gas sector. This review will be tied to further methane regulations and limits to be completed by 2016. Moreover, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has pledged to update standards to significantly reduce venting and flaring from oil and gas production on public lands. Together these trends make it very evident that methane leak detection and controlling methane emissions will be an important factor in future oilfield operations and will likely lead to fines and penalties for unprepared oil and gas operators.

As indicated by recent news, methane and fugitive emissions are significant regulatory areas with continuously changing requirements that will likely shift with minimal consideration for retooling time. This unpredictable environment demands a solution that is both affordable and easily adaptable. PetroCloud offers multiple dynamic solutions to comply with existing requirements as well as new regulations when they arrive. PetroCloud has multiple fugitive emission and methane leak detection solutions available today.